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The older population of the UK is growing – who should marketers watch out for?

Data and views from the Consumer Insights & Targeting team at Experian Marketing Services

It’s no secret that the UK has an aging populace, with the ONS predicting that by 2037 the number of people aged 85 and over will reach 3.6 million and account for 5 per cent of the total population. This growing sector has a wide ranging impact on a variety of industries including retail, government and housing – so it’s important to consider them as unique groups in their own right.

With Experian`s launch of new Mosaic, it became apparent that the increasing number of older people in the UK is reflected by a growing diversity within this segment, and marketers should sit up and take notice of this. Village Retirement and Diamond Days, two new groups, have grown apart from the two more classic groups of Senior Security and Vintage Value, and have a distinct set of preferences and traits that set them apart.

Country retreats

Village Retirement are traditionally couples and singles who have chosen to move to market towns for retirement. This 800,000 strong group now live in locations such as Evesham, Yeovil and Cirencester, within thriving communities that are large enough to give them access to the local amenities they require for their everyday living and social needs.

Living in more rural locations with less availability of high speed connections Village Retirement tend not to be digitally mobile, with adoption levels of smartphones and tablets significantly lower that the UK average. In fact, expect their PC to be a desktop in an office or spare room. They do not want, or expect, to be bombarded with marketing so if you want to engage with this particular type make sure you have a compelling and clear offer for them, otherwise your direct mail piece is likely to go straight into the recycling bin.

Once an active relationship with this group has been built, they will let you know when they need something and are likely to be long term customers provided you deliver on your promises to them. Do not consider more invasive forms of communication such as telemarketing, it will not work and may sour your relationship with them.

Retiring in style

Meanwhile, Diamond Days are retirees with a high level of disposable income who have stepped down from high-earning roles to enjoy a comfortable retirement in large, four or five bedroom mortgage-free houses that were once home to their families. Popular locations include Epsom, Maidenhead and Guildford. Their use of technology is growing, being more likely to use a tablet compared to others of a similar age.

Whilst they have adapted to life in the digital age, the way Diamond Days choose to engage with, and be engaged by, brands is still fairly traditional, particularly when purchasing more expensive items or dealing with their finances. The personal touch is important to this type and they want to feel that they are receiving good service in return for the money they spend. Expect them to shop in store, or in branch, but they will have conducted some research online before they buy. Similarly if you want to market new offers to them direct mail is still their preferred channel of choice with emails only being accessed sporadically throughout the month.

Both of these groups prefer cosmopolitan market towns that have a broad range of people resident – far removed from traditional retirement locations favoured by the older groups of the past.

Know your customer

For marketers, groups with high disposable income and plenty of time on their hands should be top of the list for getting to know better. Understanding these groups, and the channels that they use, should be top of the list for those looking to reach older demographics with products and services.

More importantly, it is high time that all marketers reconsider the older population of this country and understand that they are not a homogenous whole but an engaged and active patchwork of people, something that Mosaic can definitely help with.

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